AFI Fest begins, Oscar’s Docs, IDA nods & new news…

AFI Fest opened last night in Los Angeles and continues through November 12th at the Arclight. There is an interesting array of docs playing. I’m going to hit TV Junkie which has been playing around since Sundance and Screamers, a doc about the incredibly popular Amenian rock band System of a Down tonight. Haven’t planned much more of a schedule, but I’m looking forward to Blindsight, Girl 27 and Next: A Primer on Urban Painting. I saw Kurt Cobain: About a Son in Toronto and wouldn’t mind seeing that again on the big beautiful Arclight screen as well.

Like last Fall, Monday nights have been full of the Academy’s Oscar’s Docs Series. It’s really a great opportunity. If you love docs, are in Los Angeles and you’re missing this, you’re missing out. The Academy crew has put together a truly remarkable program. Each week covers a year or two of Oscar winning docs along with q&a’s, beautiful and informative programs and unmissable clips from Academy Award ceremonies gone by. While a surprisingly large number of these winning films aren’t even considered nonfiction by today’s standards, it might be the only place to actually see these films projected. There are four more weeks left as the series plunges into the 1970s including Marjoe, Hearts and Minds, Number Our Days and Harlan County USA.

As we near the end of the year there are lots of fantastic docs playing out theatrically. Look for 51 Birch Street, Jonestown, Jesus Camp, Can Mr. Smith Get to Washington Anymore? and Deliver Us From Evil. And I still have to see Dixie Chicks: Shut Up and Sing!

The International Documentary Association announced their “final 5s” yesterday.

2006 IDA Award Feature Finalists are:

Can Mr. Smith Get To Washington Anymore?
Frank Popper, Matt Coen, Mike Kime
Mr. Smith Movie, LLC, Sarah Jo Marks/At Risk Films, Independent Lens, PBS

Deliver Us From Evil
Amy Berg, Frank Donner
Disarming Films, Lionsgate

Iraq in Fragments
James Longley
Typecast Pictures, Typecast Releasing, HBO Documentary Films

SHOWBUSINESS: A Season to Remember
Dori Berinstein
Dramatic Forces

Sierra Leone’s Refugee All Stars
Zach Niles, Banker White
SodaSoap Productions, P.O.V./American Documentary, PBS

2006 IDA Award Short Finalists are:

ANGEL’S FIRE (Fuego de Angel)
Marcelo Bukin, Julio de la Parra, Francesc Torrens
Rec Stop and Play, Global Humanitaria

The Blood of Yingzhou District
Ruby Yang, Thomas Lennon
The China AIDS Media Project, Thomas Lennon Films, Inc.

The Diary of Immaculee
Peter Le Donne, Steve Kalafer
New Jersey Studios, LLC

A Short History of Sweet Potato Pie & How It Became a Flying Saucer
Nina Gilden Seavey
The Documentary Center at George Washington University, Team Sound and Vision

The Wild Sheep, The Fox and Love
Anne Magnussen
Embla Film As

What else… Can Mr. Smith Get to Washington Anymore ? opens in Indianapolis, Boston and Bellingham this weekend.

Whew…that’s a little update. I’ll be around AFI Fest this week and plan to write everyday with news from the international film festival that’s celebrating 20 years in Hollywood.

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